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Injury Bug Has Bit Keystone Hard as the Panthers Prepare for Key Battle With Brockway

KNOX, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The injuries have piled up so fast for the Keystone football team that the junior varsity schedule had to be scuttled.

Those players are needed on the field on Friday nights for the banged up Panthers.

(Above, the Keystone defense clamps down on a Redbank Valley ballcarrier/photo by Madison McFarland.)

“We’ve been like that, honestly, since the Brookville game (in Week 3),” said first-year Keystone coach Todd Smith. “We’ve had a lot of adversity. We lost (starting quarterback) Rayce (Weaver), and we think he’s going to be out at least four weeks. Then we played last week without (senior and leading rusher) Kyle Nellis. And we still don’t know his status for Friday.

“We got a couple of other guys banged up there last week who haven’t practiced,” Smith added. “Next man up. We’re playing a lot of young guys.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

Still, Keystone is 4-2 heading into a key matchup with 3-3 Brockway.

The Panthers lost a heartbreaker last week, 26-20, to Ridgway.

Those young players thrust into action have played well, especially sophomore quarterback Drew Keth.

“What a lot of people don’t understand even about that is he never played quarterback, ever, before this year,” Smith said of Keth. “He started two JV games that we were able to play before all these injuries … and that’s all that he’s ever had. You know, being a sophomore and being put into this situation, he’s just done an incredible job.”

Keth is 11 of 29 for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the one-plus game he has been under center for Keystone.

Tyler Albright is still healthy and the senior can hurt an opponent via the run or the pass.

Albright has rushed for 488 yards on just 53 carries and three touchdowns. He’s also the leading receiver with 14 catches for 357 yards and five more TDs.

There may still be a very young cast around him this week at Brockway.

“We have three freshmen playing for us right now,” Smith said. “I thought the two JV games really prepared them to be able to step in here. I was super proud of the kids on Friday. I mean, we had a chance right up until the last play of the game to win that game, and with all the guys we were missing, I thought it was a great effort.

“The upside is we’re getting a lot of young guys a lot of playing time and a lot of experience,” Smith said. “That can only benefit us down the road.”

Brockway’s streaky season continued last week with a 41-6 win over Smethport a week after a 40-7 setback against Port Allegany.

The win Friday ended a two-game skid for the Rovers.

Sophomore quarterback Brayden Fox continues to impress with 1,352 passing yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Receiver Alex Carlson has 57 receptions for 637 yards and running back Jendy Cuello is quietly having a strong campaign with 444 yards rushing on 79 carries and five TDs.

“Their offense is definitely impressive,” Smith said. “Brayden Fox does an awesome job at quarterback and they have some athletes around him. Carlson catches the ball really well and they have a couple of running back that are good. They’re definitely better than their 3-3 record.”

A look at some other key matchups for Week 7:

MONITEAU (2-4) at CENTRAL CLARION (6-0)

Central Clarion needed overtime to topple Karns City and stay as one of the two undefeated teams in District 9.

The Wildcats continue to be a dangerous team with sophomore quarterback Jase Ferguson at the controls.

He threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 138 yards and a score in the win over the Gremlins.

On the season, Ferguson has thrown for 1,379 yards and 17 TDs and has also added 248 yards on the ground.

Moniteau is coming off a 29-19 win over Bradford. The Warriors are a run-heavy team behind senior Hunter Stalker and junior Logan Campbell.

Stalker has 547 yards rushing and Campbell has added 223 yards and five TDs.

REDBANK VALLEY (6-0) at KANE (1-5)

After a scare the week before against Ridgway, Redbank Valley clamped down on Union/A-C Valley in a 38-8 win.

The passing game for the Bulldogs has been putting up eye-popping numbers.

Cam Wagner has already thrown for 1,503 yards and 25 touchdowns this season to just three interceptions. Three receivers have 20 or more receptions, led by Tate Minich (31 catches for 334 yards).

Aiden Ortz has 28 receptions for 531 yards and Ashton Kahle 20 catches for 383 yards.

But last week in the victory over Union/A-C Valley, sophomore running back Drew Byers was the star of the Redbank offensive show with 106 yards on 12 carries and a pair of touchdowns to keep Redbank unbeaten.

Kane has been competitive in every game this season despite its record.

The Wolves are coming off a 26-6 loss to Port Allegany.

Kane is well-balanced on offense. Junior Kyle Zook has passed for 634 yards this season and senior Ricky Zampogna has 617 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.

Addison Plants is also having a stellar season defensively for the Wolves with 79 tackles — six for a loss.

PORT ALLEGANY (5-1) at UNION/A-C VALLEY (3-3)

Port Allegany has gotten things done with a three-headed running game led by bruising back Blaine Moses, who has 594 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

Noah Archer has pitched in 364 yards and quarterback Drew Evens had added 263 yards on the ground.

Evens also has 578 yards passing and nine TDs.

Union/A-C Valley is coming off a 38-8 loss to Redbank Valley. The Falcon Knights also left the game with more injury concerns as running backs Dawson Camper and Logan Skibinski were hobbled and didn’t finish.

DuBOIS (4-2) at ST. MARYS (4-2)

DuBois was shut out, 23-0, by Punxsutawney last week in a game in which the Beavers offense sputtered, putting up just 90 yards on offense.

Still, DuBois is a dangerous team, especially with dual-threat quarterback Cam-Ron Hays.

Hays has thrown for 386 yards and rushed for another 267 and six TDs this season.

St. Marys was edged by Brookville, 22-19, last week. The Dutch turned the ball over six times (three interceptions and three lost fumbles) in that setback.

Charlie Coudriet struggled a bit at quarterback against the Raiders, but has been solid this season with nearly 1,000 yards passing and 14 touchdowns. He’s also the leading rusher with 396 yards and six touchdowns.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.



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